22/02/2012 Newsnight Scotland


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 22/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Tonight on Newsnight Scotland... As Rangers' administrators thank the


fans and other football clubs for their sympathy and understanding so


far, we will ask about the politicians' reactions. Have they


been wise to get involved? Or have they just made themselves look


foolish? Also tonight, the First Minister's


chief economic adviser tells me Britain would still have


substantial control over the economy of an independent Scotland.


And that keeping RBS might not be a great idea.


Good evening. The administrators running Rangers put out a statement


tonight thanking the club's fans for their loyal support so far.


They also acknowledged that other football clubs are generally


sympathetic and what they called very supportive of the survival of


the club. But it is not just football fans who have special


sympathy for Rangers. Politicians have always found it difficult to


keep quiet about matters which interest the public. But it is


potentially a rocky path. The Rangers manager, Ally McCoist,


ashen-faced as he left Ibrox without speaking to reporters


following a meeting with administrators this afternoon. At


the weekend, fans tried hard to show solidarity with the club and


their manager in particular. There is no doubting the raw emotion felt


by fans in these difficult times. The club is part of their lives,


the community and they are distraught at what is going on, but


this club is also a multi- million pounds business with obligations to


shareholders and, of course, the taxman. And when the Revenue could


have gone easy on football clubs because of those places within the


community, those days could have gone. Rangers is seen as more as a


business than anything else. The majority shareholder, Craig Whyte,


faces a number of questions, not least over �9 million over unpaid


tax. Politicians have also been asking for understanding from the


Revenue. We should keep an eye on what is best for Rangers and other


clubs within Scottish football, that would be a sensible thing to


do and asking both Rangers and Revenue and Customs that these


matters should be settled best by sensible agreement. What we want to


see, which the administrators should teach to do, is find a way


forward for Rangers to fulfil their obligations, but for the sake of


football and the people working there. It is not just the SNP


asking for flexibility. Margaret And from Labour, it was said they


Rangers fans might feel isolated, but even you the Revenue's case


against Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp, field, it shows at


Rangers is in the spotlight. And Leeds United went into


administration five years ago, falling �6 million of unpaid tax.


Politicians are lawmakers and tax spenders at must be careful about


defending those who sail close to the wind. How comfortable are the


over these shots? One of these men failed to play players in time. As


Ally McCoist drove away from Ibrox, he knew he could count on support


from the bowler -- from the political world, but what should be


carefully given out. So how easy is it to tread the line


between being popular and overdoing the populism? I'm joined by two of


Scotland's experts in manipulating politicians and voters. Former


Labour spin-doctor Simon Pia is in Edinburgh. Former SNP spinner Ewan


Crawford is with me here. Simon Pia, would you have advised those


politicians to say what they were saying? The Labour Party, we are


allowed to disagree with each other. I do none know if that would apply


to Ewan. And I am a spin-doctor, or former spin-doctor,... You should


be more subtle than that. I do not agree with Mark Wright or Brian


Cowen that, that Rangers is a special case when it comes to tax.


I know what it is like when you are club goes into administration.


Hibernian were in a precarious situation than Rangers, with some


takeovers that would have white that out as a club. Councillors and


politicians got involved, which is right for constituents. But not


when it comes to tax. You have to put the tax man first. If there is


any illegality, it is the end ice. I am sure that the others from


Labour would say they were not claiming that the taxpayer should


not get the money that is due to it, but this is football in Scotland.


Everyone knows, with Rangers, the taxman has been holding off with


this building for a decade. The Scottish football media were very


aware of this. There were untold -- it was not an untold secret that


Rangers was in a precarious position. Would you have advised


either of those Crewe SNP politicians to have said that?


will come to the defence of some of the Labour politicians. In Scotland,


when every you say something about Rangers, it is seen as dangerous,


because it might upset Celtic. And vice versa. That is what we should


look at, rather than take a sharp intake of breath when politicians


talk about the Old Firm. It is the implication that somehow the


survival of what is a private business is more important than the


tax payer, whose money is spent, that money should be given. I have


not heard politicians saying that tax should not be paid. Alex


Salmond said it was the same interest at stake. But bows might


not be the same. Getting the tax eventually it is most important.


Say this was Manchester United or Liverpool faced with going to the


wall. The idea that politicians in England would not talk about it


would be fanciable. But it is walking on eggshells. When Alex


Salmond spoke about Celtic needing Rangers just as much as Rangers


needing Celtic, which I am sure many watching would say was


binoculars, but all hell broke loose and Celtic put out official


statements against that. But it seems you cannot talk about one


Glasgow football club, would it be dreadful for the other one. We


cannot be in a situation in Scotland where politicians of any


party cannot talk about one part of the Old Firm, where it is talking


on it -- where it is walking on eggshells. It was not quite that,


was it, Simon Pia? What seemed to annoys Celtic was the suggestion


that the team depended on Rangers. Perhaps without the Old Firm,


Scottish football would suffer, but it did not stop Alex Salmond


getting trouble. Ewan was seeming to make accorded defence of Alex


Salmond. The sectarian bill was very poor, that was messed up.


are at it again. I am trying to give you my opinion on this. Of


course, politicians are right to step in for the ordinary football


fans, the thousands and thousands of Rangers fans. Rangers might


survive, with a new company formed, but people have to critically


examined as scrutinise what has happened at the club. It is not for


Parliament to get involved, it is up to the SPL, and we can


scrutinise what has gone wrong, but... You think politicians of all


parties should shut up? politicians should be wary about


going on to a populist bandwagon. The SNP Government shunted


sectarianism as site went coming in. A point is, court and, that the SNP


got involved when there was an incident at the Old Firm game.


politicians should shut up? It is interesting. Some politicians have


got in trouble. But what you are saying about Rangers and Celtic,


that will not be the debate. point I was trying to make, if this


was happening in England, people would talk about their clubs.


Gordon Brown has got involved, saying one of his memorable moments


was Paul Gascoigne scoring against Scotland. So Labour politicians


have spoken about football. this you a chance to level this? We


will leave it there. Thank you both Now, as the independence debate


increasingly gets round to matters of substance, I've been speaking to


the Chair of the Government's council of economic advisers.


Crawford Beveridge, who's an advocate of independence, was at


Holyrood today answering questions at the economy committee.


Afterwards at his Edinburgh home I began by asking him what he meant


when he said recently that for an independent Scotland to keep the


pound would not be ideal. I think where possible most countries would


like to be able to control all of the leaders, including setting


their own interest rates. Clearly whether we were in a European zone


or a pound zone, we would want to decide what the interest rates


would be. So that is why towards the end of the last council of


economic advisers, we were suggesting that they would need to


be some kind of Fiscal Commission that would allow people to sit down


and say, what rules will we work under? Much as they are trying to


do for the euro now. But this would be a British one. So even if


Scotland was independent, it would be part of what? It would be part


of a currency union would the rest of the UK. With a British physical


condition? You would have won it to help the Scottish government here


understand what these rules might be. Because that is one of the


issues. If an independent Scotland wanted the Bank of England to act


as a lender of last resort, and should the rest of the United


Kingdom be willing to consider such an option, there would have to be


some pretty stringent rules, wouldn't they? Along the lines of


the kind of thing the eurozone are talking about. Absolutely. A lot of


them would be the same kinds of things, the amount of yet -- the


amount of debt to GDP that you could have, the amount of debt you


could have in a year. And they would also have to be enforceable?


Which this was not in the eurozone, so they would have to be some other


mechanism? Yes, a lot of the things that went wrong in the eurozone,


even though the main members were very keen and worked these rules


are a long time ago, there were rules about how much you could go


into debt. When they came up against countries like France, they


can be ignored that and went forward. There must be some


mechanism that says, you cannot go beyond the rules we have set.


obvious problem with a British currency is that of the rest of the


UK would be so dominant compared to Scotland that it would effectively


be able to set the rules. Except within very tight margins on things


like how much the Scottish Government could borrow? Absolutely


right. You cannot ignore what the lender of last resort is going to


lay down in terms of what is upset. But if we went ahead and did some


borrowing within reasonable means, that would be a good thing. One of


the things that is Hape well at the moment is the number of -- the


might have time the Government is spending on capital, which will


kick-start the economy. You cannot cut your way to great, you have to


find a way to get growth back into the economy. The obvious


counterpoint to this is that of the British Government is already


giving the Scottish Government borrowing powers. If under a


currency zone, the parameters of those borrowing powers would be


very limited, because it would have to be part of the fiscal pact, it


is not quite clear what the difference would be, and whether


there is any advantage of going through this whole shenanigans of


independence when you end up with much the same thing. What we don't


know is what UN do with the same thing, and how much lead -- leeway


there would be. But it is more than a detail. One of these supposedly


compelling arguments of the Scottish National Party is that it


knows that as things stand at the moment, the majority of people are


against independence, and it has come up with a compelling economic


reason, that we would have fiscal powers, that what we seem to be


saying is those fiscal powers compared to being a devolved part


of the United Kingdom, the difference would either be zero or


not that much. It depends what happens to GP. We still haven't


resolved this issue of oil and an oil fund. It might give us more


money to spend all borrow against then you would normally have. All


of the revenue goes into a fifth region of the UK, it doesn't get


split, it goes straight to the Treasury. If we could reclaim some


of that money here, we would have a lot more leeway. The other issue


that is coming up is banking. It is unclear what the state of RBS is at


the moment. It is partially nationalised. Do you think it is


credible of Scotland became independent to have a bank like


Abbey S whose assets are a multiple of Scotland's GDP, almost Icelandic


rather than Irish. Is that credible? Or would it be better if


it came out of nationalisation as a London based company? I think


everybody wants to get it out of nationalisation. The top managers


in the bank are all working to that regard. None of them like the


Government being in ultimate control. It would be neater if it


came out of nationalisation before it became a Scottish bank again.


Would it become a Scottish bank again? I don't know. I don't see


any reason why shouldn't. It could last for a great deal of time


longer here. But the worry would be, and of course everyone will say,


there will be new banking rules, this will never happen again. It


might not in the short term, but look what happened between class


steal it in the 1930s and in 1988. And if a company this size went


down, there is no way an independent Scotland could do what


the British government had done. would be very hard, I agree. And


this is why, in amongst the volley of bank regulation there would be,


you are right, we can never stop anything going wrong to some point,


but it could be very successful, and you need to think about what


rules we could put in here they could get most of these nets


covered. The danger, the downside risk is cataclysmic. Yes, and we


have to think, do we want and in incredibly dominant bank in


Scotland, do we want smaller ones? There are banks and smaller


countries that don't expose themselves internationally. Just


not the one in our country! And the question is how do they get from...


For example, the SNP seems to have, some would say, remarkably little


say. It might be an argument for them to say, we don't want a huge


bank like RBS. And they think that is a perfectly reasonable argument


for somebody to make. The banking system in Scotland makes a lot of


sense. It might not complete -- compete with City banker Schroders,


but it could be more like many smaller banks around the world.


None of the smaller banks are trying to gain to do the massive


banking markets worldwide that are the has tried to get into. You are


very sympathetic to the idea of independence for Scotland. Yes.


do think there is a compelling argument. You can understand why a


lot of people will think, you wanted us to vote for independence,


to leave the UK and become a separate member of the European


Union, United Nations, separate military. And the up side is that


maybe we could have taxes that are a little bit different, and we


might or might not be able to do a bit more of borrowing. Is the game


really worth it? I tell you why I think it is worth it. You have to


pop up a little minute from the economic argument, and ask do you


want to be in control as you possibly can in this environment


that we have, and have all of the decisions that you make about what


is right to a country? I think that is right faster do. I want us to be


able to decide, even within constraints, that the vulnerable in


our society can ride on buses free and get free prescriptions, even


though my neighbours and the South don't think that is a good idea.


Yes, of course, attitudes to the vulnerable in society might change


depending on whoever is in power in Britain. But that is almost a


constituent sense of what Britishness means to many British


citizens, at least since the Second World War. Britain is proud of its


National Health Service. Britain is pride of the welfare state that was


set-up in your namesake's stake - no relative! It is hardly a


clincher. For me it is. I want to raise my own money and be allowed


to spend it in the way I want to spend it. Does that mean sometimes


we will be ahead of our neighbours and sometimes behind? Probably. But


I would still rather be an independent person of that sort


then be given a cheque by mum and dad and told to do my best.


Beveridge, thank you very much indeed.


Now a quick look at tomorrow's front pages.


We look at the Scotsman, RBS handing out �800 million in bonuses,


and a picture there of Marie Colvin. The Herald, and the Daily Telegraph,


baby girls aborted no questions asked, that is their headline.


Good evening. A cloudy, misty and mild night for many. With the the


wind south-westerly, many of these western and southern parts will


remain grey and damp throughout. Through the Midlands and into


eastern parts of England, we could see sunny spells and temperatures


reaching 16 or 17 Celsius. To the east of Dartmoor, we could see some


sunnier breaks. But through the moors, it will remain misty and


foggy all day. The same for the hills and mountains of Wales. They


will see some patchy rain and drizzle. Northern Ireland will see


some brightness in the east. The patchy rain and drizzle turns a bit


heavier across the North West of Scotland. Warmer and brighter to


the east. Things change across the North Thursday into Friday, but the


temperatures drop. We will slowly sea temperatures drop because


England and Wales, too. This comes from a cold front working its way


Download Subtitles